Editor’s Note: Rachael McKinney is a sponsor of chambanamoms.com.
Are you currently pregnant and thinking ahead about your labor and delivery experience? Meet our momprenuer, Rachael McKinney.
Rachael is a mother to three and a doula. She also teaches classes for the Bradley Method. She has been fascinated with the birthing experience ever since she started having children. She enjoys helping women realize their strength in the birthing process and the ability to achieve the birthing experience each mother wants.
Q. You are new to the community, what drew you and your family to C-U?
We moved from Southern California just a few months ago. We were looking for a change and when my husband was offered his dream job out here we jumped at the opportunity. We are getting to know the area and all it has to offer- we love it so far… although I am nervous about our first winter!
Q. We have oodles of pregnant readers, please tell us about the Doula Services you offer.
While living in Southern California I started my Doula and Childbirth Education Business and loved it! My philosophy is: All Births Celebrated. All Women Supported. Some moms want to have an unmediated birth and some know they are going to have an epidural… I want to help women have the birth experience that they want, my job as a doula is to support the laboring mom and her coach, however they see fit. Traditionally, other women supported the laboring mama during the childbirth process. In today’s times most people don’t find that to be the norm, but that doesn’t mean that the need to be supported is any less. As a Doula, I use my Bradley background and support the birthing mother and her coach through the process. This includes answering questions, providing education and resources and as much labor support as they need.
Q. What is The Bradley Method® and what can couples expect from your classes?
The Bradley Method® of Natural Childbirth is a 12-week series of classes that gives parents the information needed to have a healthy low-risk pregnancy and an unmedicated birth through exercise, nutrition and education. In class, we focus on education and empowering each couple with research, choices and questions to ask your care provider as well as natural pain management techniques through weekly relaxation exercises and labor rehearsals. We also focus on the mom’s labor coach as a key component in the experience, giving the coach all the tools needed for a great birth experience.
Q. How did having your own children effect your desire to become a Doula?
I have three kids… My first two births I didn’t know about the resources I had- or to even look for them. During my pregnancy with baby No. 3 I decided I would take more of an active role in the process and really did some research. We took The Bradley Method® series of classes and hired our teacher as our Doula- we felt great having all of the information, but wanted someone who really knew about unmedicated birth and the how the body works and responds to certain things to be there throughout the process. Having the classes and my Doula on call 24/7 was a huge relief to me… knowing I had the education and support from her through the process was something I knew I needed- finally it all felt right. To make a long story short, two days past my “due date” I was at home and contractions came on very fast and powerful. I was woken up from sleeping and ended up giving birth 15 minutes later in our bedroom- my husband caught our baby and we were taken to the hospital (we were both doing great)- where our doula met us. Even though we didn’t get to use her in the way we were planning on, her services and support before and after were amazing. I’ve always had a fascination for birth and I didn’t know how birth would fit into my life forever– but after this experience with my doula and her classes I knew how invaluable support and education were during this time in a woman’s life was. I knew I had to be an Educator and a Doula. I started right away attending certification births and getting certified to be a teacher.
Q. Do you have any helpful hints for parents who are thinking about using a Doula or taking The Bradley Method® classes?
Interview a few doulas- don’t just go with the first person you meet or hire someone because of a great recommendation. I am a firm believer that there is a doula out there for everyone and finding the person who will support YOUR birth plan and has a personality that fits yours and your coach’s is SO important. You are going to be spending a good amount of time together and the last thing you need during such a special time is someone who rubs you or your coach the wrong way or tries to push their birth ideals on you. Keep searching until you find someone who clicks on every level and who you feel is truly there to support you and your birth!
And do your research on your options for Childbirth Education and talk to the teacher to find out if their philosophy for childbirth education matches yours before signing up for classes. I am starting a new series of The Bradley Method® Classes on December 5 from 7-9 p.m. On November 16 from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., I am hosting a Free Introduction to Childbirth Class where you can come get an overview of what Bradley is all about, ask questions, meet me and other pregnant families in the area. You may not know what you want your birth experience to be like but doing research and taking classes now (its never too late) can help shape your birth plan… taking the time now to find out what you want is so important. And I would love to offer my support!